“To Treat or not to Treat?”, that is the question

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Some time last year, we put in place the rule "no treats during the week" mostly because treats became a constant issue in our household. I got so tired of answering "Can we have a treat?" after what seemed like every single meal, because as much as I’d like to answer “yes” all the time, that just wasn’t an option and the more they asked, the more I started to say no. Can you say “vicious cycle”? So we did away with them altogether during the school week (except for special occasions, of course) and limited them to weekends only. When my husband first suggested this, I thought “Are you insane!?! Easy for you to suggest when I'm the one who's gonna have to put up with most of the whining!” But after more thought, I decided it worth a try. Well, to my delight, it worked surprisingly well and they whined surprising little about it. Cool.

A little while back while we were at the grocery store, Big Sis asked if we could get some Lunchables. When I said I can just make you one that's a lot healthier for you with pretty much the same stuff, she said, “but those come with a treat.” So in an effort to keep her interest in MY lunchables, I started packing a little treat along w/ it. I noticed how much they enjoyed those lunches and how much more of it they ate, so very recently – like last week! – I revisited this rule and made an amendment: From now on, I’ll start packing your lunches with a little treat in them, but if I find that you’re just eating the treat and not the lunch, then the next day you WILL lose treat privileges. They both eagerly agreed. I was excited, too, because as many of you know, I love treats myself and it’s hard to deprive them of something that makes them so happy even if it’s for their own good.

My Version of Lunchables with a treat
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In this lunch:
  1. Ham and muenster cheese cut into flowers
  2. Whole wheat Ritz Crackers
  3. Mini Oreos Packet
  4. Sun Maid raisins
  5. Cutie (orange) in one, Veggie Sticks in the other
  6. Anjou pears and blueberries in picks 
After a full week of this, I declared this amendment a HUGE success. They were eating EVERYTHING in their lunch! Even Big Sis, who often had a hard time finishing just half a sandwich, was eating an entire one. Now, I’m sure there’s more at play here, like she’s getting older and finally developing more of a taste and appetite for things, but I have to attribute at least some of this to the treat factor. :) She even told me, “Mommy, I’m really like this new treat plan.” …because, well, you know, most of the time amendments aren't necessarily in their favor, like: "From now on if you don’t do this then you can’t have that blah blah blah”. They were both quite happy with this one. :)

Now that I’ve started doing this, I’ve been enjoying coming up w/ healthier treat options. But sometimes I’ll throw in something that just ain’t good for you but just plain fun or yummy like gummy bears, Andes Mints, etc but they still love getting those Homemade Oreos or Iced Pumpkin Cookies or even Carrot Cake. And I’ve been having fun trying to make some treats just a little bit healthier.

In this lunch, Big Sis only got half the gummy bears because she left more than half her sandwich last week for semi-legit reasons. :)

In this lunch:

  1. Ham, cheese and lettuce tortilla roll-up
  2. Cascadian Farms White Chocolate Chip Granola Bar
  3. Gummy Bears
  4. Raisins for Big Sis, grapes for Little Sis
  5. Homemade Cheese It's for Big Sis
  6. Snyder's Eat Smart Naturals Garden Veggie Sticks
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